February is the shortest month of the year, full of love, flowers and heart-shaped balloons, not to mention saccharine Instagram and Twitter videos of flamboyant gifts as Valentine’s Day lands right in the middle of the month. Some people look forward to this day to show their significant others love, appreciation and (of course) the meticulous and personally curated lovey-dovey playlists. Giving someone you love a playlist of hand-picked songs with them specifically in mind has an effect that words or tangible gifts cannot express. Songs show what you feel and ultimately express the depth of your care and admiration. Whether the playlist includes happy up-tempo love songs, or slow heart-touching ballads, playlists are a simple but a meaningful gift specifically catered to that special someone.
Although the day is upon us, we sometimes spend our Valentine’s Day valentine-less. And that’s okay. We all know that uncomfortable and vulnerable feeling of not having someone on this day. Finding that special someone is a journey, but don’t let that put you down. Listening to sad or happy love songs on Valentine’s Day won’t help you in finding your soulmate but with the endless amounts of music there’s a soundtrack to love and heartbreak in which you can indulge and enjoy.
“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
Not only does this song sound like heartbreak encapsulated, but it’s a lived-in tune about an actual failed relationship. Bon Iver’s lead singer Justin Vernon’s haunting voice and acoustic ensemble make this a heartache of a tune, but its simplicity and elegance is a work of sonic mastery.
“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” by Al Green
The title says it all. Accompanied with a beautiful string section and backup singers, the song delves into defeat, nostalgia and the inevitable heartbreak. Al’s storytelling is simple and straightforward as his voice guides us into his broken down spirit.
“Nothing Left for You” by Sam Smith
Although Sam Smith has only released two studio albums he proves to be a pop culture powerhouse with a unique voice and production. The guitars are beautifully strummed, juxtaposed to Smith’s vulnerable voice as the tune builds up to this epic choir and drum joint. Smith’s lyrics touch on unsuccessful love in which he shapes his emotions into something physical and intense.
“Hasta la Piel” by Carla Morrison
I know it’s in Spanish, but Morrison sings about a love lost. Sadness is a universal emotion that isn’t barred by distinct languages or in Morrison’s case, Spanish folk. All those in love before understand this songs melancholic tale of loss.
“The Way Life Goes (feat. Oh Wonder)” by Lil Uzi Vert
This cut finds Uzi rapping over a melancholic beat about an ex but he doesn’t forget to flex — a defense mechanism involving the use of material items to cancel out the sadness. This is a side we don’t really see from big contemporary rappers, which is a nice paradigm shift from this new wave of emo-rockstar-rappers.
“I’ll Slip Away” by Rodriguez
The elusive Rodriguez never met mainstream success but his poetic tales are impossibly honest and heartwarming. In this song we find ourselves in the never-ending theme of love lost, accompanied with beautiful guitars and simple drums. The vocals ooze with talk of loss, rejection and self-evaluation. The subtle string section is a beautiful touch to this tune; it displays how happy the violins contrast the lonely tale.
“Ivy” by Frank Ocean
Partly produced by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam, this gorgeous tune is about unexpected love sweeping you from underneath, and it ending not so well. Over the summer during his “Blonded Tour,” Ocean reached out to audiences and asked if they’d ever been through a break up in which audiences roared, booed and agreed. The song’s gorgeous instrumental is paralleled with the inevitable end to his love in which many relate.
“Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra
Come on it’s Frank Sinatra, who doesn’t love this man? I’d definitely slow dance to this song if I knew how to. Sinatra eclipses the ever-so dreamt story of love at first sight. He croons to the listener with his powerful voice and grand production.
“Adore” by Prince
The ever-so-legendary Prince, may he rest in peace. In this seductive slow jam, Prince sings beautifully with frenetic over-dubs and multiple layers of instruments that mesh so well together about love and making love. At six minutes and 31 seconds, the song sounds endless in the best way possible.
“Home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
A conversation between two lovers with catchy hooks, this song’s meticulous lyrics all describe the love and admiration between a couple incapable of being seperated. Borderline cheesy, the song has a short interlude in which the two singers speak about how they fell in love but it only adds to the lovey-dovey theme, a theme which many can relate to.
“When We Get By” by D’Angelo
Driven by a groovy bass line, this jazzy R&B melting pot of a song crosses between multiple genres in a way that compromises neither jazz nor R&B. D’Angelo sings heavenly about love against the heavy bassline. His voices soars to the top of the song and all the instrumentals work in harmony to make this a memorable track.
“Room in Here (feat. The Game & Sonyae Elise)” by Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak is one of the newer R&B singers but make no mistake he’s not one to miss. In this cut, rapping and beats accompany Paak’s vocals about taking a chance with someone. Elise and The Game add a nice contrast to Paak’s voice and storytelling that in turn produce a great track to groove along with.
“My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder
A quick Google search translates the song’s title to “my sweetheart,” it’s Stevie Wonder at his best, the song’s beautifully orchestrated production is complemented with Wonder’s tale of love. I could picture this song in the backdrop of a lovely picnic dinner.
“All I Do Is Think of You” by Jackson 5
If the soaring guitars don’t grab your attention, a young Michael Jackson will. This song reminds listeners of young love and the first time being in love. Michael Jackson is at the forefront, his naive yet recognizable voice complimenting the slow jam that is sure to evoke emotion of love.